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THE SITUATION ROOM
President Obama Juggles Two Wars; Senate Defeats Abortion Amendment; U.N. World's Warmest Decade; Battle Over Brazilian Wall; Party Crashers Will Plead Fifth; Google Sues Scam Sites
Aired December 8, 2009 - 17:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAFFERTY: Honestly, they have both made such a mess of things here, that after 35 years of being proud to tell people where I live, I'm now moving out of the state."
Marta writes from Henderson, Nevada: "No, Harry Reid's support of health care will not cost him his Senate seat. Most Nevadans, like me, are aware that we have a champion for ordinary people in Senator Reid. Why would we ditch a senior statesman like Harry in favor of electing someone who has considerably less clout and understanding of how to make real changes happen for this country?"
Brian in Las Vegas: "As a Nevadan, I can tell you the climate here is that Harry Reid's support of health care reform is only one issue in a long list of things that will cost him his Senate seat. While Nevadans were proud the senator worked his way up as the majority leader, he has ignored his home state and instead entrenched himself in partisan politics instead of solutions."
Ernie writes: "Harry Reid will probably lose his Senate seat. But it appears he's prepared to pay the ultimate political price for doing what most politicians to be -- would think unthinkable -- doing what's best for the country and not what's best for Harry Reid. Too bad the attitude is not contagious."
D. writes: "I wouldn't bet against anybody who worked his way through college as a boxer and wound up being majority leader. Reid is a fighter."
And Dennis in Colorado says: "Jack, are you the only person on national television who knows how to correctly pronounce Nevada?"
If you didn't see your e-mail here and you want to read more on this subject, go to my blog. You'll find it at CNN.com/caffertyfile -- Wolf.
BLITZER: That's because you are from Nevada.
CAFFERTY: That's one of the reasons.
BLITZER: Good work, Jack.
CAFFERTY: Thank you.
BLITZER: And to our viewers, you're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Happening now, Iraq exploding in deadly violence. A wave of suicide terror attacks killing more than 100 people, wounding more than 400 in Baghdad. We're getting new information this hour. We're going to the Iraqi capital. We'll talk about what it all means for President Obama and for the United States. James Carville and Tony Blankley -- they're standing by live.
Also, Afghanistan's president raising serious doubts about the new 18 month U.S. timeline for his country. He's talking about decades.
Are Washington and key allies like Britain ready for that kind of commitment?
I'll ask the British ambassador to the United States. He's standing by live.
Climate change and dramatic action -- building a wall to save a rainforest. We're digging deeper as world leaders meet to address global warming.
I'm Wolf Blitzer.
You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Weeks of relative calm shattered in the span of about 30 minutes with five coordinated suicide car bombings across Baghdad, targeting two government ministries, a courthouse, a university and a police patrol. Amid the billowing smoke and debris, a stunning human toll. At least 127 people are now confirmed dead and almost 450 injured. It's the deadliest attack since October and comes as Iraqi leaders have finally settled on a March election.
CNN Isha Sesay is in Baghdad with the latest -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, with U.S. troops pulling back from Iraq cities, terrorists once again took the opportunity to highlight the precarious security situation here on the ground.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What crime have we committed?
Children and women were buried under debris.
Why did they let this car bomb pass?
Why didn't they reveal it by detector?
SESAY (voice-over): Anger amid smoldering ruins in Baghdad, as once again, the nation's capital is struck by a string of coordinated attacks. Five suicide car bomb explosions rocking Southern, Western and Central Baghdad, claiming the lives of more than 100 and wounding hundreds more. Here in Mansour District in Western Baghdad, police believe the target was a civil court. But the blast also took out a nearby school. Until now, Iraq's prime minister has repeatedly stressed that Iraqi security forces are up to the job of keeping the country safe -- a viewpoint not shared by his own foreign minister, Kurdish Hoshyar Zebari.
HOSHYAR ZEBARI, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: One has to admit there has to be short comings in the Iraqi security forces and their performance and ability to deter, to penetrate, to disrupt these well organized networks.
SESAY: Meanwhile, in the nation's parliament, heated exchanges and a dismal assessment of the government's security record.
NOOR ALDEEN AL-HAIALI, SUNNI LAWMAKER (through translator): The Iraqi government failed in taking measures to protect targeted Iraqi citizens, whom are shocked and getting slaughtered on a daily basis.
SESAY: Before Tuesday's attack, the capital had seen a period of relative calm. This, after last October's massive twin car bombings outside government municipal buildings, which claimed the lives of at least 155 people.
The fear among some politicians now is that with elections set for March 2010, the violence will only increase, leaving the likes of Hoshyar Zebari to call for greater action by U.S. forces before they completely withdraw in 2011.
ZEBARI: We are committed to the withdrawal time. But from now until 2011 is a long way in Iraqi politics. And from now until the withdrawal in 2011, I think there is still a great deal to be done.
SESAY: The US, for its part, in a statement condemning Tuesday's attacks, has only said it is willing to assist the Iraqi government in bringing to justice those responsible. And there is no indication at this stage that the Prime Minister al-Maliki will actually ask the U.S. for further support. All of which leaves ordinary Iraqis caught in the middle with little certainty of what may happen next on Iraq streets.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SESAY: And, Wolf, Iraq's prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, already pointing the finger of blame at Al Qaeda and loyalists of Saddam Hussein's banned Baathist Party for today's attacks, though there have been no claims of responsibility as yet -- Wolf, back to you.
BLITZER: Isha Sesay.
It's shocking, what's going on in Iraq on this day.
Meanwhile, Pakistan also reeling from a wave of terror attacks. Attacks are now nearly a daily occurrence in Pakistan. Lots of people are getting killed. CNN's Arwa Damon is in the capital, Islamabad, with the details of the latest violence -- Arwa.
ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, reports thus far are that the attack in the City of Multan was, in fact, carried out by suicide bombers. Police saying that they believe two or more suspects drove a vehicle packed with a thousand kilograms -- that's more than 2,000 pounds of explosives -- detonating it at an army checkpoint located right in front of an intelligence building. The blast was so powerful that it damaged a number of buildings in the area, completely obliterating their facade and causing a number of floors to collapse. At least 12 people were killed, amongst them, four children.
This type of a strike that really hits at the very core of the Pakistani government and its security infrastructure really serves to prove the militants' determination and capability to keep on their efforts to destabilize the government here. The area where this attack took place, in the province of Punjab, is especially significant, because Punjab is Pakistan's most populated province. And more importantly, it's home to its military and political leadership, not to mention the country's elite, as well. Destabilizing the province of Punjab will very much serve to destabilize all of Pakistan. And that is exactly what the militants want -- Wolf.
BLITZER: Arwa Damon in Pakistan, where the situation is very, very tense.
Let's go to Jack for The Cafferty File -- you know, we spend a lot of time worrying about Afghanistan, Jack, as we should, especially now that this escalation is going forward. But what's happening in Pakistan and in Iraq -- 100 killed today, 400 injured, five simultaneous suicide bombings. You know, I'm really worried about that situation. It's by no means a resolved matter in Iraq.
CAFFERTY: No. And there -- and there's another little place over there called Iran, where things are not exactly all peace and quiet, either. It's a -- it's a fascinating part of the world and we're in it up to our armpits.
Despite record deficits, President Obama wants to spend more money to create jobs, try to ease the suffering of consumers and businesses. The president's plan includes giving small business tax breaks for new hires and equipment purchases; expanding spending on infrastructure -- building more roads, bridges, water projects, etc.; giving consumers rebates for modifying their homes to consume less energy.
The president didn't put a price tag on all this stuff, but he said there is more money for the government to spend -- oh good -- since the TARP bailouts will wind up costing $200 billion less than expected.
That's a pretty good piece of change. Republicans are outraged at the idea of spending any of this TARP money. They say any money made back on the bailout of financial institutions should be used to pay down the skyrocketing national debt.
President Obama insists the U.S. can do both at the same time -- pay down the debt and spend more money to create jobs and spur economic growth.
Meanwhile, there is an ominous warning that came today about our ballooning national debt, which now stands at $12 trillion -- and it's climbing at the rate of a trillion dollars a year. Moody's credit rating agency says that it's not inconceivable that the U.S. could lose its AAA debt rating by 2013. It could happen if U.S. growth slows, interest rates climb and the government fails to address the growing national deficits, which the government is currently failing to do big time.
Here's the question -- what should be done with the leftover $200 billion of TARP money?
Go to CNN.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog.
Boy, they find a quarter laying on the sidewalk and they -- they can't wait to get it spent, can they?
BLITZER: Yes. That's what happens. They get the money and they want to spend it.
BLITZER: Jack, thank you.
Stand by. We're going to talk about the possibility of using some of this bailout money to create jobs. We have more on that story that Jack just reported oncoming up.
Coming up, our political panel, including James Carville and Tony Blankley. They're standing by live to discuss that and a lot more.
Also, a controversial eco-wall, as it's being called, is being built around some of the world's largest shantytowns.
Are they protecting the rainforest or simply creating a prison for poverty?
And Pakistan's president is talking about a decade-long commitment by the allies, while the U.S. is looking at just perhaps the next 18 months and then begin to withdraw. Britain's ambassador to the United States is walking into THE SITUATION ROOM. We're going to see if there's any daylight between the U.S. and Britain.
Mr. Ambassador, welcome.
NIGEL SHEINWALD, BRITISH AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED STATES: Thank you. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
BLITZER: Point/counterpoint today, as Defense Secretary Robert Gates traveled to Afghanistan to meet with President Hamid Karzai. Gates outlined the administration's 18 month game plan, while Karzai warned that getting to a secure Afghanistan could take a whole lot longer.
CNN's Atia Abawi has details -- Atia.
ATIA ABAWI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan on Tuesday, meeting with Afghan president, Hamid Karzai. The two held a joint press conference here in the capital of Kabul, where they discussed President Obama's new strategy for the mission in Afghanistan -- the 30,000 additional U.S. troops expected to come in the next six months and how they hope that those troops can help train the Afghan national forces, so, in the end, those forces can end up protecting their own land.
They also discussed the July 2011 deadline that President Obama had stated, depending on the conditions on the ground, where they hoped to start withdrawing U.S. troops.
President Karzai said that he accepts President Obama's strategy, that he welcomes it. But he also admits that he will be needing -- the Afghan people will need the international community's help for some time to come.
PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: For a number of years, maybe for another 15 to 20 years, Afghanistan will not be able to sustain a force of that nature and capability with its own resources.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABAWI: The issue of corruption was also brought up. President Hamid Karzai has been under intense pressure by the international community to stamp out corruption within his own government -- a government that has been delegitimized because of corruption by -- in the eyes of the Afghan people, as well as the international community.
But Secretary Gates admitted that the international community has also -- has to do their own part to make sure that they help when it comes to the corruption in Afghanistan by keeping an eye on the funds that they bring into the country. The finance minister here in Afghanistan has stated that $32 billion was donated into Afghanistan and only $8 billion out of that $32 billion has gone through the hands of the Afghan government -- Wolf.
BLITZER: All right. Atia, thank you.
Let's talk about Afghanistan and more with the ambassador representing one of America's most important allies, if not the most important.
Sir Nigel Sheinwald is the British ambassador to the United States. Sir Nigel, thanks very much for coming in.
SHEINWALD: Good evening.
BLITZER: Ambassador, you heard Hamid Karzai speak about a 15- year commitment he says the allies will need to provide to help that country get going and reach security.
Is Britain ready for that 15-year commitment?
SHEINWALD: We're ready for a very long-term commitment to Afghanistan. Of course, we can't maintain this sort of high level combat role for that length of time. But the political, the economic, the support role we're going to have to provide, that's going to have to go on for much longer than the next couple of years.
BLITZER: How long can Britain maintain a high level security role -- a security involvement, as part of a broader NATO force?
SHEINWALD: We're going to stay where we are. We've already increased our troops substantially to over 10,000 troops. We're, by far, the largest contributor after the United States. And there is a cross party consensus in the UK. We've got to continue our commitment there and we'll do that, despite the fact that overnight, we've had the very sad news, we've lost our 100th soldier in Afghanistan this year.
BLITZER: Does -- this -- is this war very unpopular in Great Britain?
SHEINWALD: There is -- there has been declining support for it, that's true. But I think what people want to see, if people -- if we're losing lives, they want to see a competent and committed plan to achieve success. And we're starting to see that.
BLITZER: The 10,000 troops you have there now -- is that what you have now or is that what you're going to be building up to?
SHEINWALD: We will build up to that. We've got another 500 going over the next few weeks.
BLITZER: So what has been the increase?
The U.S. is going to increase by 30,000.
What has been the British increase?
SHEINWALD: Our increase will be 1,200 over the just over the 8,000 that we had there in the summer of this year.
BLITZER: Is that the best you can do?
SHEINWALD: It is the best that we can do at the moment. We've got a, you know, a substantial number of our special forces there. This is quality, as well as quantity. And that's almost three times as much as the next largest contributor. BLITZER: And your troops, as opposed to some other NATO Allied troops -- the Germans, for example -- your troops are actually willing to engage in major combat, as opposed to simply training Afghan security forces?
SHEINWALD: Absolutely. We -- we've been involved in the south of Afghanistan for the last three-and-a-half years. It's been very, very tough fighting there. As I said, we've lost a lot of people this year. But we're going to see it through.
BLITZER: Now you've pulled out of Iraq, for all practical purposes, is that right?
SHEINWALD: The combat role is over. We're still continuing with some training.
BLITZER: How worried are you?
I'm very worried, the five simultaneous terrorist attacks today. More than 100 people killed, 400 injured. They're getting ready, supposedly, for elections in March.
How worried are you that Iraq can unravel?
SHEINWALD: Well, we're obviously worried when you see this scale of the violence. But I think you've also got to see the resilience of the political process in Iraq. It's held up. And that's what we've got to back up to the hilt.
BLITZER: So you're -- you -- what are you doing to try to do that?
SHEINWALD: Well, we've got our -- we've got our political effort that -- that's maintained. We've got a development effort there. And we're helping their security forces still.
BLITZER: Do you think the U.S. will be able to withdraw combat forces by the end of next summer and all forces the following year, on schedule, based on what you're seeing right now?
SHEINWALD: I think that we mustn't allow ourselves to lose confidence simply because of a spectacular attack on Monday, but to see the political reaction to that, which I'm sure will be one saying that terrorists will not be allowed to derail the political process.
BLITZER: When it comes to Afghanistan and Iraq, is there any daylight between London and Washington?
SHEINWALD: Not on those issues. I mean, as you said, our combat role...
BLITZER: You agree with the Obama administration on everything as far as Iraq and Afghanistan is concerned?
SHEINWALD: We've got the same approach on both issues. Afghanistan is, by far, our largest military effort in the world today. And we believe it's now time for the international community to rally behind what the president said a week ago. And we're going to follow that up with a big conference in London the end of January, which is going to look at the issues you've been devoting your program to -- whether Afghanistan can improve its record of governance and corruption, whether we can get the international coordination right and whether we can get the international commitment right for the long-term.
BLITZER: And on Iran, which is another key issue, does your government believe that Iran right now is actively trying to build a nuclear bomb?
SHEINWALD: We think that they've got a lot to prove, to show that they are going to be peaceful in the use of the nuclear program that they've got. And we've said to them that there's a chance for them to negotiate seriously with the international community to put those doubts -- to put those uncertainties to right.
BLITZER: So is this not a yes or no answer, are they building a bomb or not?
SHEINWALD: Well, they've got to establish the -- the trust and the confidence of the international community. And they don't have that today. And they haven't had it for some years. We -- we don't know whether they are building a nuclear bomb or not. We know that there are worrying developments there and a program there that they need to be transparent with the international community about. And we're going to give them the chance to engage with us.
BLITZER: Because when I spoke with President Obama's national security adviser, General Jim Jones, the other day, he said that they have until the end of this month to live up to what the international community is demanding, otherwise the sanctions will go forward -- stiff sanctions, serious consequences for Iran.
Is there any daylight between London and Washington as far as getting tough with the Iranians right now is concerned?
SHEINWALD: Absolutely not. We've led this policy for a number of years. We've led the dual track policy of giving the Iranians a chance, but at the same time, putting pressure on them, making clear the international community as a whole wouldn't put up with their attempts to keep their program going as it is at the moment.
BLITZER: Do your analysts agree that the Iranians -- at least a lot of analysts here in Washington suspect the Iranians are simply playing for time?
SHEINWALD: Well, at the moment, they have not responded to the offer that was made to them a couple of months ago. So this will turn, as we come to the end of this month, to the time that we've allocated for a decision on this, this will turn to sanctions next year.
BLITZER: And describe the sanctions. Assuming they don't change their position, don't cooperate, describe the sanctions that Britain has in mind trying to impose -- get the international community to do what?
SHEINWALD: We'll look at all three baskets. We'll look at the political basket. We'll look at the trade basket. We'll look at the economic and financial basket, as we have before. And remember, the European Union has always going to head of and beyond what the U.N. has done. So we're going to contribute to this in Europe, as well as backing further action by the U.S.
BLITZER: What's your analysis of the huge demonstrations yesterday?
We saw tens of thousands of Iranian college students protesting. "Death to the Dictator!" they were shouting. I don't think they were referring to the United States or Britain, as far as the dictator is concerned.
Is it possible that there can be a revolution in Iran that would remove the current regime?
SHEINWALD: It's possible. And there's clearly huge turmoil within -- within Iran at the moment following the elections. Things have not settled down. And that makes it actually more difficult to get a straight answer out of them. We have to wait and see. It's their business, not ours. But clearly, working with a more open, a more democratic Iran would be much easier, from our point of view.
BLITZER: Sir Nigel, thanks very much for coming in.
SHEINWALD: Thank you.
BLITZER: The British ambassador to the United States, Sir Nigel Sheinwald.
SHEINWALD: Thank you.
BLITZER: An entire village consumed by the sea. Around the world, millions of others fear the same thing.
Is global warming to blame?
And they're supposed to be enforcing the law. Instead, off-duty officers are caught on tape allegedly breaking the law.
BLITZER: Betty Nguyen is monitoring some other important stories incoming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now -- Betty, what's going on?
NGUYEN: Well, Wolf, the deaths of two infants has prompted the recall today of a baby bed designed to rock a baby to sleep. The Consumer Product Safety Commission and Amby Baby USA announced the recall of 24,000 Amby Baby Motion Beds. Now, these are baby hammocks made of a steel frame and a fabric hammock. Officials say the rocking motion can make the baby roll, become trapped and suffocate. You can find more information at ambybaby.com.
In Eastern South Korea, U.S. and South Korean forces take part in a joint air drill. The military exercise that began today includes U.S. Army Blackhawk, Chinook and Apache helicopters, along with South Korean Blackhawks and Cobras. Roughly 900 soldiers are participating in the two days of air drills. One U.S. officer says the exercise or -- the exercises keep forces effective in safeguarding the Korean Peninsula.
Check this out. Police in Paris suspect the two masked men in this robbery video may not be ordinary thieves, but off-duty police officers. The shop surveillance camera on Friday captured two men rummaging through the cash register, apparently taking cash and phone cards. A shopkeeper chased them down after they left and two Paris police officers are now suspended and facing charges.
All right. Let's take you to Hawaii now. They have not seen waves like these in five years. Look at that. But they are pounding the island of Oahu's North Shore. A strong Pacific storm is churning the surf, making waves as high as 50 feet.
Talk about hang 10.
People are being warned, though, stay back from the water if they're going to watch. And die-hard surfers, well, you know, they are gathering for a contest that is called only when there are very large waves.
All right, so from Hawaii to Christmas at the Capitol. Yes, just minutes ago -- check it out -- the switch was thrown for the lighting of the Capitol tree. There it goes. Key players were on hand for the ceremony, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator John McCain of Arizona. This year's tree is an 85-foot blue spruce from a national forest in Arizona. And the lights on the Capitol Christmas tree, well, they will be on every evening until 11:00 p.m. through January 1st.
So a great sight there for you, Wolf, up in Washington.
BLITZER: It's a beautiful tree. It's the Capitol Christmas tree near Capitol Hill, on Capitol Hill, as opposed to the national Christmas tree, which is near the White House.
BLITZER: Two very beautiful Christmas trees here in the nation's capital. I recommend you come visit, Betty, if you have a chance.
NGUYEN: All right.
BLITZER: Thank you.
Afghanistan is taking the headlines lately, but Iraq is still a hot spot and under terrorist attack, as we saw today. If the violence continues to escalate, will the Obama administration find itself between a rock and a hard place?
We're going to hash it out after the break.
Also, Rio de Janeiro's wall -- officials say it's there to protect the rainforest. Locals say it's there to keep them out.
And be warned -- all that glitters is not Google, even if it says so. The search engine goes to court to protect its name.
BLITZER: To you are viewers you are in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Senators brace for a vote on a controversial abortion amendment. That vote coming to a close right now. Dana Bash is on it and we'll let you know what the outcome is when it happens. Stand by, an important vote in the Senate on health care reform.
He has the go ahead from President Obama for more troops in Afghanistan. Now can General McChrystal sell the plan to Congress?
And persistent signs of struggle on Wall Street. Investor sell- offs and disappointing earnings in sales reports send the Dow Jones Industrial average down 104 points today to close at 10,285.
I'm Wolf Blitzer. You're in THE SITUATION ROOM.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made an unannounced trip to Afghanistan. Top commanders there are pitching the afghan troop buildup. Meanwhile here in Washington, they have been testifying before members of Congress. Afghanistan is certainly received the lion's share of attention lately but violence is mounting in Iraq. If it continues to escalate, what does the Obama administration need to do next?
Let's discuss this with our CNN political contributor, James Carville, the Democratic strategist, and Tony Blankley, the former press secretary for the one-time speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. Guys, thanks very much for coming in.
Tony, let me start with you. These five simultaneous terrorist attacks in Baghdad today, more than 100 people killed, 400 injured. Are you concerned that Iraq could unravel?
TONY BLANKLEY, FORMER DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA: Sure. I did a column on that a few months ago. However, we're leading up to the March elections. Even if the Americans were having primary responsibility there, you'd see an increase in violence. Now the Iraqis have primary responsibility and we're seeing it and we're going to find out whether they're capable of keeping it under control, but it was going to go up anyway. However, it could unravel and then we'd have to get more troops in there again to take primary responsibility, which we don't want to do. BLITZER: Here's what I'm worried about James, the Sunnis will blame the Shiites, the Shiites might blame the Kurds and the potential for a civil war could come forward.
JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: There's a lot to worry about. Look, I think we've got 140,000 of our young people in Iraq. We're soon going to have 100,000 of them in Afghanistan. Also there was like 12 people killed in Pakistan.
BLITZER: Almost every day there's a terrorist attack.
CARVILLE: Every day. I don't know, but maybe at some point somebody is going to try to take a step back and say we need a plan b here. But plan a is in some choppy seas right now.
BLITZER: I think if all of the effort, the lives lost over these past years in Iraq, when the dust settles in a year or two years or whatever and seen as for naught, it will cause a lot of grief.
BLANKLEY: It should. I don't want to be optimistic at all because there's no grounds for it. But I think we and the Iraqis have a lot of experience over the years of how to manage the distrust between the Shia and Sunnis that we didn't have early on. If that's applied well and they both understand, more of them are invested in the future than they were five years ago so there's a chance this can work out well and be managed, but increasingly the Iraqis have to be the ones to manage their own fate.
CARVILLE: Tony makes a very valid point. We have learned a lot, but one doesn't know, but I think we fear that this stuff is so engrained over there as soon as you take your foot slightly off the accelerator, it explodes again of the it's not the a happy way to look at things.
BLITZER: I want to switch gears for a moment. Stand by.
All right. There's been a critical vote on the floor of the Senate involving the health care reform legislation. Dana Bash is our senior Congressional correspondent.
Tell our viewers what the vote was about and what happened, Dana.
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: What just happened is the Democrats defeated a measure to make abortion restrictions much, much tighter in the health care bill. This was a measure by Democrat, anti-abortion Democrat Ben Nelson which would have effectively banned coverage in any insurance plan that accepts taxpayer money. The Democrats defeated this. Indeed they are keeping some restrictions that are a lot less restrictive, if you will, there are currently already in the health care bill. This is a short-term gain for the Democratic leadership, but also it makes very clear that this issue of abortion, Wolf, which still divides Democrats, is still very problematic for ultimately getting a health care bill to the president's desk, because in the short term, Ben Nelson, one of the key Democrats, this was his measure. He has said he will probably vote no without these restrictions. Long term, in the House of Representatives, they have already shown that for anti-abortion Democrats there, they need these restrictions to pass it in the House. So short-term gain for the Democratic leadership. Long-term still very problematic on this really wrenching issue.
BLITZER: Dana, explain why it's a short-term gain if Ben Nelson, one of the Democrats who was pushing for this language, similar to the language of the Stupak amendment in the House of representatives that passed in the House, it didn't pass in the Senate. He now is threatening not to support health care reform if it doesn't have that much stricter language on abortion.
BASH: Absolutely. He sure is. Short-term gain, I say that because of simple math, because the number of Democrats who would likely walk, who are for abortion rights greatly outnumber frankly the one Democrat who is threatening to walk if not. So from the perspective of the Democrats who are trying to wheel and deal as we speak behind the scenes for whom every single vote counts, it's much easier to make up for one vote than many, many. That would be the case if this measure would have passed.
BLITZER: And do you know what the final vote was.
BLITZER: How many voted with Ben Nelson and how many voted against?
BASH: It was 54 senators, 54 senators to defeat this. That's the way it was presented on the Senate floor. So the vote was 54-45. 54 senators, Harry Reid and many of the abortion rights senators voted yes, we want to defeat this Nelson amendment. That's how it broke down.
BLITZER: Dana, an important vote there. James Carville and Tony Blankley are here with us.
James, give us your analysis of what this defeat for Ben Nelson and the tighter language on abortion means.
CARVILLE: It means that if they need this vote and have to have the tighter language at the end, that will be put into the final bill. I suspect, I don't know if this lines up with the Stupak thing that passed the House.
BLITZER: Very similar.
CARVILLE: Very similar.
BLANKLEY: There's a majority in the House for a very tough anti- abortion provision. We saw that vote.
BLITZER: That's why Nancy Pelosi allowed it to go forward.
BLANKLEY: With the Senate not going that way, how do they marry those two bills up? CARVILLE: This is what happens because a lot of people have to vote to not have this. So 54 Democrats have their vote on record for this not being restricted. Then at the end Nelson comes in and says you want the 60th vote, you have to have this, the majority leader puts that in the bill.
BLITZER: You think that's a likely scenario?
BLANKLEY: That's the normal tactic. Whether it works, is an individual decision. Abortion is the toughest for members of either party to play games.
BLITZER: The only option -- if Ben Nelson is adamant and says I'm not going to vote for this health care reform legislation now that it doesn't have similar language to the Stupak amendment, the only way they get to that 60 is if one of the moderate Republicans, like Olympia Snowe, decides to go along.
BLANKLEY: I don't think Nelson was ever going to vote against the Democrats on a procedural vote so he probably would have been with them on the 60 and other things. But on a substantive issue like abortion he will vote his convictions, as most senators will at that point.
CARVILLE: Again, I think everybody got on record, the people that had to, the Democrats that had to are now on record having opposed this, it may be they have to vote for it on final passage, I don't know. I don't care. That is a hard thing that they're trying to do, that Senator Reid is trying to do. It may not make it, there's no guarantee.
BLITZER: You've been insistent for weeks, it's not a done deal by any means that when the dust settles, the president is going to be able to sign health care reform into law.
CARVILLE: It's not a done deal, but they -- you know what I say is the idea is to just keep moving the chains. You've got to keep moving the chains.
BLANKLEY: Back in '93 and '94 when Clinton had a health care bill, they never got this far. But for months everyone said it had to happen because they couldn't not pass it. Turned out they couldn't. Now, they have got further this time but it's still not a done deal, I agree with you.
CARVILLE: One of the things having an advantage is we saw what happened when it didn't happen. There are a lot of people so we best hang together than hang separately.
BLANKLEY: For instance, Republicans broke with President George Herbert Walker Bush on taxes. So the argument whether these hang together or separately is one each member will have to make.
BLITZER: Guys, thanks very much. Once again, the Ben Nelson language, tighter language on abortion, failing on the floor of the U.S. Senate just now. President Obama's new jobs proposal, we'll debate the pros and cons with the Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele and the Democratic Party Chairman Tim Kaine. They're standing by live and will face off right here in THE SITUATION ROOM.
And a controversial eco-wall. Is it keeping deforestation out or locking poverty in. Details of the uproar over climate change right after the break.
BLITZER: The U.N. Weather Agency says the decade almost completed is on track to become the world's warmest since records began back in 1850. The declaration came on this, the second day of the climate conference underway in Copenhagen where 192 nations are discussing ways to protect against global warming.
Meanwhile in Brazil, walls running through Rio de Janeiro are said to be there to protect an endangered rain forest but critics aren't buying it. They say that's just an excuse for segregation. Here's CNN's Shasta Darlington.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In Brazil you're never far from a football game. But in Rio de Janeiro it's not a level playing field. Just downhill a cinder block wall is going up around the entire community. Officials call it an eco-barrier to prevent pavellas from expanding even further into the lush tropical forest that surrounds them. Locals call it segregation. We don't have the right to have our opinion heard, says Francisco, a resident of Santa Marta. The government has the power. We visited the pavella for a firsthand look. Founded by squatters looking for work in the big city, shanty towns like this are not even on most maps. A full 20 percent of the population of Rio lives in pavellas. There are thousands of them spread out around the city. Many of them like Santa Marta cling to the hill sides with extremely difficult access. You can only get here by climbing steep staircases or in this case they have built a funicular which helps people get up here and it also integrates the pavella into the rest of the city.
Francisco says residents here were opposed to the wall from the beginning. "People felt imprisoned," he says, "Like they were setting borders and limiting when we could come and go." Many people here see the latest plan as an attempt to build a barrier between crime-ridden slums and beach side condos. This is the same pavella Michael Jackson chose in 1996 to shoot his video "They Don't Care About Us."
But there is some support for the wall. He has been living here 34 years and has seen the population more than double to 7,000. "People are happy because it's going to protect the Atlantic forest," he says. "Protecting the environment is important." The Atlantic forest blanketed much of Brazil's coast when Portuguese adventurers landed here 500 years ago. The rain forest was home to more plant and animal species than the Amazon. Only seven percent of the original forest is left. In Rio the plan is to build more than 14 kilometers of walls around 13 pavellas in danger of eroding it further. Critics have drawn parallels to Berlin and the walls that separate Israel from Palestinian territory. Fernando Gabeira, a senator from Brazil's green party, denies it.
SEN. FERNANDO GABEIRA, BRAZIL GREEN PARTY: This wall is not the wall like the Berlin Wall. Everyone may pass and there is no control. Trying to avoid people visiting the community or the community.
DARLINGTON: But he says he would have preferred satellite tracking to an actual wall.
GABEIRA: It's different between soft power and hard power.
DARLINGTON: Something the residents of Santa Marta can surely appreciate.
Shasta Darlington, CNN, Rio de Janeiro.
BLITZER: Another aspect of global warming in Brazil.
The passionate debate over global warming shifts into high gear as the would recall leaders and world scientists are in Copenhagen but what's the truth about global warming? Tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern, a special edition of Campbell Brown looks at the science, the skepticism and secrets surrounding global warming, trick or truth, 8:00 p.m. eastern later tonight.
It's a massive online scam using the name of the world's most popular search engine. Now Google is fighting back. We have the details of the lawsuit.
And what should be done with the leftover $200 billion of bailout money. Jack Cafferty with your e-mail right after the break.
BLITZER: All right. A development on the White House party can crashers. We go to Jeanne Meserve who is working the story.
What's going on, Jeanne?
JEANNE MESERVE, CNN HOMELAND SECURITY EXPERT: Well Wolf, the Salahis both say they are going to invoke their 5th amendment rights in a letter to the White House homeland security committee. Their lawyer, Steven Best, says they are doing this because of a criminal investigation under way in the U.S. attorney's office in the District of Columbia, and also because there is a public record demonstrating, he says, that certain members of the committee have drawn premature conclusions about the matter. It goes to quote some of the statements by members of the homeland security committee among them Eleanor Holmes Norton who called them serial scam artists and outlaws. Of course tomorrow that committee is scheduled to vote on whether to subpoena the couple and also the ranking minority member Peter King wants to also subpoena Desiree Rogers, the White House social secretary, all of this in connection with that gate crashing incident at the state dinner for the prime minister of India.
BLITZER: Not going away, at least not yet. All right. Thanks Jeanne very much.
Let's check in with Jack for the Cafferty File. It is going to be interesting, Jack,to see if they go ahead to subpoena the Salahis and they invoke the fifth, will they make them come before the committee and sit down before the panel and keep saying, I invoke the fifth, I invoke the fifth?
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They should just put them in jail for being annoying. No trial, no hearings, nothing. Just put them someplace where we don't have to look at them or read about them or hear them anymore. They are annoying people, and I have had enough of them.
Question this hour, what should be done with the leftover $200 billion of T.A.R.P. money?
Kay in California: "Whatever John Boehner is saying we ought to do with it, we should do to opposite. Small businesses are the backbone of this country's economy and not just the corporate America that the Republicans represent. Without affordable health care and more credit available to small businesses, we are sunk. The Republicans want neither, put it in the main street and save the economy."
Shirley writes: "If nothing is done to create more jobs, how many money will the treasury be losing? People who are unemployed don't pay taxes and that means less for the treasury. We need to do whatever we need to do to create jobs even if it means a short term rise in the deficit."
George writes: "Pay it back, pure and simple. I'm a Democrat but it burns me up that we have such a fiscal irresponsibility in Washington. It is unfathomable," -- I wish you would not use those words, because I have trouble with them. "It is unfathomable to me that we had a balanced budget in 2000 that was wrecked by the Republicans and the Bush administration. It's got to stop. It'll be painful but we cannot as a people keep kicking the can down the road hoping that a future generation will deal with it. Enough already."
Michael in Hollywood says: "T.A.R.P. money is available, give it to the small business immediately. Trickle-down economics does not work as the rich hoard it. We need some economics that waters the fields of business and jobs now."
Joseph writes: "It should be used to pay down the debt. I am rarely on the side of the Republicans, but it seems ridiculous to spend our extra money on more stimulus. Obama will look like a 16- year-old with a credit card if he spends this money. It would not be a good move for him." And Chris writes: "Only a Republican would have the nerve to call a tax cut for small businesses spending. I guess it is only a tax cut when it goes to the wealthy."
If you want to read more on this subject, go to CNN, my blog at CNN.com/Caffertyfile, and say unfathomable.
BLITZER: It is a tough word, Jack.
CAFFERTY: It is awful.
BLITZER: Let's not use it anymore.
CAFFERTY: Good idea. It is banned.
BLITZER: All right, Jack. Standby. If you use Google, you have probably seen the ads and now Google is suing over them, and we will show you why after the break.
BLITZER: If you have ever searched the web, you have probably seen ads promising to get rich quick through Google. Now the search giant is going after them with a lawsuit. Let's go to our internet reporter Abbi Tatton.
Abbi, what do these ads look like?
ABBI TATTON, CNN INTERNET REPORTER: Wolf, it can start with what looks like a legitimate news story telling you that Google is paying good money for people to work from home, and from that, you might be lead to a page that looks like this or this or perhaps like this, each with a Google logo and names like Google Fortune, Google Profits that promise if you pay them $1.97, they will share the secrets of how to make cash online, and then there's the fine print. People that signed up for this offer found out that pretty soon, they were paying upwards $70 a month on their credit card, and now Google is trying to put a stop to this filing a lawsuit against a Utah company Pacific Webworks and dozens of other unnamed offenders saying that the network of sites is misusing the Google name and misleading consumers into thinking they will make money from Google name. No comment yet from that company Pacific Webworks Wolf.
BLITZER: Any idea the scale of this?
TATTON: Well, looking around this morning, we found three ads in as many minutes, and they are everywhere online, and that is even after the Federal Trade Commission earlier this year went after similar sites and managed to get them shutdown, but Google saying that this is like a game of whack-a-mole, and they are reminding people to be weary online, and if you see an offer that looks too good to be true, it probably is -- Wolf?
BLITZER: Excellent advice Abbi. Thank you.
Happening now, senators unlike the colleagues in the House of Representatives are refusing to tighten the restrictions on...